Bait: More than Worms

Common earthworm is a fisherman’s best friend. Imagine his excitement as the ground thaws, the earth can be moved easily with a shovel or his bare hands, and earthworms appear with the first spring buds. This is a sure sign that fishing season has begun if he wasn’t still casting a line through a hole in the ice. What if you live somewhere that doesn’t get cold during winter or where there is no soil to dig up earthworms?

Start with Worms

Let’s touch on them, though, because these wiggly little things are popular, especially in North American and many European countries. What are its advantages? One benefit of these critters is that they are plentiful to those with access to dirt: almost everyone who has at least a small garden or co-operative plot. Secondly, they are free. Relative to some bait, they aren’t gross and even squeamish people can often cope better with baiting a worm hook than using squid or small fish.

There are other types of worms too, one called a ragworm which is common in the UK. These are marine animals, so you only find them near the shore, fitting since they are used for sea fishing. They resemble thick centipedes, can measure several inches in length, have lots of little legs, and they bite.

Various types of trout, salmon, and bass eat worms. If you are using ragworms, these are best for sea fishing rather than inland types. Consider using these to catch bass, cod, or mackerel.

Squid Bait

Most people can’t simply dig up squid in their ponds, not even the little ones used as bait. These are frozen and sold at bait shops, so they lack the advantages of being fresh and free, unlike earthworms. Fish still seem to love little squid and those little legs are moved around by the water, so they appear to be alive anyway. Some fishermen argue that just about any fish will eat squid bait, but check your facts. Several types of bass like them plus mackerel. Stick with squid for sea fishing since they would be unfamiliar to freshwater species such as some trout.


Rock hopping fishermen frequently turn to crustaceans and animals living in shells such as shrimp, clams, mussels, and limpets when they fish out at sea from rocky ledges. These are readily available from just about every rock pool if it’s not a super dry day. Peer under the rocks and some will be clinging there or pick them up along the way when you spot some and drop them in a bucket of water. Crustaceans found in this manner are free, there are lots of them, and they are familiar to the species of fish you are trying to catch anyway. Take care cutting shells open though.